Look At Your Feet: Five Steps for Living in the Present Moment

I got a phone call last week from a friend who wanted to talk. Not meet for a visit, but talk. There was a tone of seriousness in her voice.

I hadn’t seen her for a long time. Why would she be calling me now, out of the clear blue? She didn’t want to talk over the phone, she wanted to meet me face to face. She didn’t tell me what she wanted and I was afraid to ask.

Immediately my mind went to all of our past encounters. Had I offended her somehow? Was that why we hadn’t talked for so long? Was she mad at me? Had I been completely blind to something? What had I done?

Was she going to deliver some really bad news to me? Or was she going to tell me about some grand scheme of hers? Was she wanting me to do something with her? Did she want me to bail her out of some bind? Had she come to some kind of monumental decision?

How was I going to respond? What if I got mad? What if I couldn’t help her or support her?

What if I cried?

My mind wanted to stay in the past. Asking questions. It wanted to jump to the future. Asking questions. But both were unattainable to me.

The time came. I arrived at our favorite coffee shop ten minutes early. I looked around and scoped out the room for the perfect table. The one in the back right corner. I made sure my back was to the room so if I cried no one would notice. I had no idea what to expect. I couldn’t prepare. So I waited.

While I waited I noticed how nervous I was. Thankfully, I was able to have a little talk with myself before my friend arrived.

“Self, you can’t change anything in the past,” I said matter-of-factly.

“There is no way you can predict what is to come,” I said, almost scolding myself.

I knew better.

“All you have is right now. All you have is this present moment. And you don’t know what it holds. Look at your feet.”

In the past few years I have developed an exercise for bringing me back into the present moment.

I am trying to remember that the present moment is the only place where I can encounter the living God.

I want him to lead me.

I want to hear from him and talk with him.

I want to walk with him, moment by moment, day by day.

I want to be found faithful as I make my journey through life.

I can’t do that yesterday, and tomorrow is no guarantee.

Connecting with him is only possible right here, right now.

As I sat in that coffee shop I realized that I needed to meet him right then. I needed him to help me. So I began by looking at my feet.

Here is what I said to myself:

1. “Look at your feet.”

Notice exactly where I am at this exact moment.
Look around.
Where am I?
Whom am I with?
Who am I talking to?
What am I doing?

2. Say, “I am here.”

Not somewhere else. I am right here, at this moment. This is the only place that matters. This person is the only one that matters. This situation is the only one that matters. Right now is all that matters.

This present moment is the only one which can be affected.

The past is gone. Done. The future is not yet here.

I only have this moment and this place to make a difference.

3. Say, “God is with me.”

He is.

It’s true.

He is everywhere present and filling all things.

He will never leave me. He is right here. He is with me.

Meditate on that for a minute. Accept it.

4. Ask, “What now, Lord?”

What is God asking from me right now?

Be still. Listen.
Really listen.


6. Now act. Obey. Do it.

By the time my friend joined me at the table, I was able to be fully present to her.

I wasn’t worried or afraid.

I just abandoned myself to our time together, all the while continuing to be alert, to listen and respond to what I believed the Lord was saying to me.

We had a difficult but delightful time together. Our friendship was beautifully deepened.

I won’t share with you the substance of our conversation because it doesn’t really matter. It’s in the past.

What matters is right now.

Question: Where are you right now? Look at your feet.

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92 Responses to “Look At Your Feet: Five Steps for Living in the Present Moment”

  1. Just found your old blog through the new blog – well – anyhow – found this post! Thanks for sharing!

    As a new leader I need to follow your advice… I will…

  2. This may be my favorite post I’ve ever written. I try to live this way every day, though I fail many times. But it makes ALL the difference in the world when I do.

    Thanks so much for visiting and for commenting.


  3. You two are cute! By the way, I loved this post.

    1. Look at your feet.
    2. Say, “I am here.”
    3. Say, “God is with me.”

    The daily anxieties we face in the flesh can be overcome in the peace and quiet of the Saviour.

    Thank you, Gail. I was pleased to discover your blog today.

  4. What an excellent thing to practice…Look at your Feet. Love the thoughts.

  5. I so enjoyed this… I’ll never look at my feet the same. :)

  6. Gail,
    I just found your blog via your husband’s blog. So, glad I found this today…will share this with others.

    Bless you!

  7. Thank you.

    I can honestly say I don’t know how I found this, but somehow I managed to stumble upon this post. I’ve been going through some struggles and was in tears before I could finish reading because it was exactly what I needed. God works in mysterious ways.

    But thank you so much sharing. Now I too shall always look at my feet.

    God Bless

  8. So glad you dropped by and grateful you found the words encouraging.

  9. I needed this today. You’re words are wise indeed. When I look at my feet I want to find them planted on the solid Word of God.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing truth! There are so many things in our lives pulling us in many different directions and yet we need to be reminded of the truth, all we have in here and now. As a pastor’s wife, I know exactly the kind of situation you were in that day… have even allowed myself to be so preoccupied with the past and future so much that I missed the opportunity to help heal a heart! I like the illustrative power of “look at your feet”…. I think I will get out some springy nail polish and make sure to add a little smile next time I have to follow your advice!

    Soaking up the Son,

  11. Hi Courtney,

    Wow, that’s quite a message! So, get up and get moving.

    Love it!

  12. Thanks Gail! Very inspirational! My feet just spoke to me saying, “it’s time for me to get up and get moving to walk into my God-given destiny!” I’ve been sitting down way too long! It’s time to get out of my comfort zone lol! :)

  13. I left a reply, but forgot to put it under your comment. So take a look.

  14. You’d better stop and say “hello!” :-)

    Sounds like you are experiencing lots of changes, and it sounds like you are keeping your focus right where it needs to be. Proud of you. Stay connected to the “author and finisher of your faith.”

    Another great question to ask yourself when things are taking a different turn than you expected is, “What does this make possible?” Mike blogged on this a while back:



    Hope to see you sometime.

  15. Thanks, Jill.

  16. Hi Gail, I saw your tweet about this today. I’ve been looking at my feet all day; your post is an incredible reminder. I’m walking through a big (huge!) career change right now and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of the now. There’s no manual that I can follow to get me through this specific challenging time. What has happened is a huge blessing and answered prayer (although answered unlike I had imagined!)–but there’s a ginormous learning curve, some workplace drama that I’m likely to encounter in the next several days, and many unknowns. I’ve been reading Mike’s leadership blogs over the past couple months and have been “blue-skying it,” picking out the characteristics of my next team leader… and God laughed and made *me* the leader of our team. Now I just have to be in the present moment and draw on Him for strength, wisdom, and right words.

    Anyhow, thank you for blessing me through your blog. And next time I’m strolling past Merridees with Spence/Randy/et al like I was last week, and I recognize you from your Twitter pic, I’ll say hello! :)

  17. Lovely post. Thank you.

  18. Very good news! And even the hard things are in your life for your “salvation, ” for your transformation, sanctification — to conform you into the likeness of Christ.

  19. As I’ve been looking at my feet God has been answering prayer and proving Himself to be faithful as always. My fiance and I committed to the church we had been attending and feel a great peace that is where God wants us to serve Him. I got the job I had applied for and that will enable me to be more fully involved in church ministry (I was working nights and will be working days). Family problems are still there and there are, as always, question marks about the future. But, God is ever present and meeting us where we are. God is good, all the time! :)

  20. Tara, I love your friend’s idea of taking pics of her feet. Our feet bear the whole weight of our bodies. That’s how important our feet are!

    Coach Theresa

  21. I loved the Life-Mapping concept! And I love the question, “How Do You Relate to Your Past, Present and Future.”
    Excellent. Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. I just posted a link to your post. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I loved it!
    (See http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/a-follow-up-to-look-at-your-feet/ )

  23. What a great response Sherri. You sure have a lot of decisions facing you. Just remember the truth. God is with you. And he will show you what to do.

    One thing I’ve learned … or I should say am still learning … is that listening to God and living in the present moment is something that I have to continually remind myself to do. I’m constantly falling back into my old patterns of thinking. Constantly! So I have to remember to look at my feet. I think that is how God has designed it. That’s what keeps the relationship alive and active. That’s what keeps us dependent on Him.

    Keep going. One step at a time.

  24. I am quite blown away by the fact that Gail, Fr. Michael and I (and maybe others as well) are converging on this theme of “Living in the Present”. Over the last two weeks, I posted a series on “Life-Mapping By Asking Great Questions”. One of the Great Questions we need to ask: How Do You Relate To Your Past, Present And Future?” posted Friday March 12. This was a series of blogposts I wrote out of my brokenness arising from some traumatic life transitions.

  25. It’s not something I always want to remember, but yes, that’s it exactly.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  26. Marshall, What a great insight to link “living in the present” to God’s question to Adam, “Where are you?” Indeed, when we live somewhere other than the “present”, we are running away from the “Present” that God places in front of us and we are also running away from his Presence!
    Coach Theresa

  27. By the way, I posted something similar on my blog and it actually came up on the end of your post as a “possibly related post.” The title of my post is: Are You Missing the Gift of the Present?

  28. Fr. Michael Najim March 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog. Beautful! I love the post about encountering God in the present moment. So true that we only have the present: the past is gone, the future is not here. I think this is one of the most important lessons in the spiritual life.

    God bless you. Keep up the good work.

    Fr. Michael Najim

  29. Gail,

    Your words spoke to my heart today. I have a LOT going on right now. My fiance and I are praying about where to go to church, I interviewed for a new job last week, family problems… I could go on. I have been having trouble sleeping and just overall been extremely stressed. I am going to read and re-read this and REALLY listen to God and what He is asking of me. Thank you for your words. God bless you!


  30. This reminds me of God’s question to Adam in garden, the question Billy Graham likes to repeat: “Where are you?”

    It’s a fantastic reminder.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  31. Marissa, It’s wonderful to meet a young adult who loves and respects her mom so much. You have blessed me with your comments about your Mom.


  32. Kori, it is so easy to slip into the futuristic mode when we are trying to achieve goals. I have been so goal-oriented that I had my feet mostly in the middle of the air. I love Gail’s image of “looking at your feet” because it reminds me my feet is where I am planted in the present. We can all learn to do better at staying in the present.


  33. I love this post! That’s why I referenced the link on my blog! Thank you for your comment on my blog yesterday, that made my day. I look forward to your insight and inspiration, keep it coming! :)

  34. Thanks for this. Beautifully said!

  35. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for the reference to this post on your blog. I left you a comment.

  36. What I think is so neat is how I’m learning from you, too. You are so inspiring to me!

  37. brittanylassiter March 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks, Gail. I think you’d appreciate this poem from what’s come to be one of my favorite blogs:

    “You are not there. Somewhere in the future, suffering for something that hasn’t happened yet. You are not there, in a place where all your worries manifest.

    You are not there. Somewhere in the past, reliving your old mistakes and regrets. You are not there, in a place where memories resurrect.

    You are here. Right here.”

    – The Autumn in their Eyes (http://pleasefindthis.blogspot.com/2009/10/autumn-in-their-eyes.html)

  38. Thank you, Gail, for the help.


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